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Bowel sounds, also known as "stomach noises" in layman's terms, are the sounds produced by the digestive system -- particularly during the process of digestion. Bowel sounds are not normally audible, but some people hear these sounds quite often. There is nothing to worry about if you hear such sounds because bowel sounds are totally normal. These sounds indicate that your digestive system is working properly.

If you believe that there is something creepy going on with your digestive system, here are some common disorders that tend to produce abnormal bowel sounds.

Empty stomach: An empty stomach is one of the main causes of bowel sounds all over the world. Many people think that there is something wrong with their stomach, not knowing that it is just because they are hungry. An empty stomach keeps producing acid, which makes the sounds audible. If you experience abnormal sounds, change your eating habits.

Bowel obstruction: Partial or total obstruction at any point of the digestive tract can interfere with normal bowel sounds. The sounds, in case of obstruction, can be hyperactive, hypoactive, or totally absent. Keep in mind that absent bowel sounds are alarming. The obstruction may occur in any area but the small and large intestines are the most common sites of obstruction.

Electrolyte imbalance: The human body needs electrolytes for proper functioning. Abnormal increases or decreases in the quantity of electrolytes can impair several body functions, including the digestive system. Potassium, sodium, and calcium are some of the most important electrolytes for digestion. Reduced potassium levels in the blood, also called hypokalemia, is one of the causes of hyperactive bowel sounds. This usually occurs due to dehydration, excessive sweating, or blood loss.

Crohn's disease: Crohn's disease is an inflammatory condition of the digestive tract. Patients suffering from this disorder usually complain of abnormal stomach sounds along with some other digestive symptoms such as nausea, bloating, abdominal discomfort, vomiting, and bloody diarrhea. Crohn's particularly affects the small intestine, while sparing the rectal part of the large intestine. It is imperative to treat this condition as it can lead to severe complications.

Ulcers: Stomach ulcers also cause abnormal bowel sounds. Tiny ulcers in the stomach impair the functionality of the stomach, which in turn produces loud sounds while digesting.

Strangulation: Strangulation of the intestines is a very rare but extremely dangerous disorder. It causes bowel obstruction, which is very irritating and may result in severe complications. In this disorder, the patient may hear loud bowel sounds which disappear after the disease has progressed to a certain extent.

Some other causes of hyperactive bowel sounds include:

  • Ulcerative colitis

  • Enteritis

  • Paralytic ileus

These are very rare causes of abnormal bowel sounds.

What is the treatment of hyperactive bowel sounds?

Keep observing the pattern of your bowel sounds. If you notice a sudden increase in sounds, you visit your doctor right away. However, it is quite possible that changing your eating habits will improve your bowel sounds.

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